Plans for life sentences for killer drivers announced

People who cause death by dangerous driving and drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs could face life sentences under new plans unveiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The MoJ announced that drivers who cause death by speeding, racing, or using a mobile phone could face sentences equivalent to manslaughter, with maximum penalties raised from 14 years to life. A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will also be created.

The move comes after a response to a government consultation that revealed substantial backing for the plans from a range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation. Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.

“We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”

In 2016, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, while 32 were convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.

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